Non-native species can be spread from ocean to ocean via ship. They may be carried via ballast water or attach to the hulls and other parts of ships, hitching a ride across the oceans. IMO is addressing this problem through the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, which entered into force in September 2017 and requires ships to manage their ballast water to limit the spread of aquatic organisms. Also, IMO’s Biofouling Guidelines address bioinvasions via ships’ hulls. The joint International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and IMO (ICES/IOC/IMO) Working Group on Ballast and Other Ship Vectors, discussed various topics related to the management of both ballast water and biofouling, which are the two vectors for ship-mediated introductions of invasive aquatic species, at its annual meeting, held in Madeira, Portugal (5-7 March).
IMO’s Theofanis Karayannis updated the meeting on the latest developments and outcomes on ballast water management from recent IMO meetings, including the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 71) and the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 5), as well as expected discussions at MEPC 72 to be held in April.
Mr Karayannis also outlined the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships Project which will aim at building capacity in developing countries for improved implementation of biofouling management. The Project is in its preparatory phase, selecting the recipient countries and designing the list of activities that will be carried out once the full-size Project is launched later this year.